A Path to Reaching Your Influencer in a Modern World
As a marketer in the startup space, I’ve come to get familiar with reaching influencers. Marketing innovative products is much easier when you have real data to prove it’s effectiveness. Although it becomes really helpful if this data is attached to a recognizable brand or influential figure.
In the B2B space, it’s now standard to develop case studies with your clients to use as marketing material. In the B2C space, it’s usually an endorsement from a widely recognized leader. Both are very effective tactics in driving awareness and credibility.
Reaching an influencer isn’t just for marketers. If you consider an “influencer” as an individual who is recognized as an expert in their field and has a strong reputation among their community…it applies to a wide variety of professional backgrounds.
Whether you’re looking to build a relationship with an influencer in your space or simply seeking advice, I’ve developed a process that’s proven effective. Within the last month, I’ve used this exact approach to grow an authentic relationship with one of the top influencers in my industry.
I can’t say exactly who just yet as it would ruin an upcoming blog post, but it will become clear shortly 🙂
Getting on the Radar
Reaching an influencer in our hyper-connected world has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Although there’s hundreds of ways to reach someone, there’s likely a long line up of others in your space with the same idea.
No one likes being cold emailed from someone they don’t know with the purpose of being asked a favour, especially an influencer. Starting with small interactions that are helpful to your influencer is a great way to begin.
There’s a few simple ways that you can both help an influencer while getting on their radar:
- Follow them across your favourite social channels and subscribe to their mailing list. It’s one of the easiest ways to keep tabs on their latest updates.
- Re-share their social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) occasionally if they align with your point of view. Not only does this help spread their message, it also shows you’re engaged with the latest updates in your field.
- Share their content (if they publish online) across social media. Be sure to tag the individual or their brand page if possible so they’re notified when you post.
The purpose of getting on their radar is to simply get your name in front of the influencer long before you reach out. Like any of your key business relationships, it takes time to develop. There’s no shortcut, just smarter ways to approach them.
Making a Connection
A strong personal brand is everything for influencers. Now that you’ve helped build their brand by sharing, it’s time to engage in a meaningful discussion.
Most people decide to skip this step and reach out directly. But have you shown the influencer that you’re actually knowledgable in your field yet? Have you done anything to show that you’re more than just a profile image online?
With the explosion of social media and content creation, there’s many ways to engage online. If the person you’re trying to reach is considered an influencer, they likely have their own personal / company blog, write for a leading publication or engage in thoughtful discussions on social media.
Regardless of where your influencer talks online, there’s a few ways to make a stronger connection:
- Take the time to regularly read their content and leave thoughtful comments. If you’re passionate about what you do, this shouldn’t be hard. Ending with a question or a strong statement is a great way to get their attention.
- Many influencers take to Twitter to share their opinions. Responding to one of their Tweets with a meaningful question or comment can also prompt a discussion. Although I find this tactic much less effective due to the crowded nature of Twitter.
- Following the same approach as above, find out if your influencer participates in any online groups or communities. These environments are designed to create open discussions.
This is by far the most important step in the process. If you haven’t spent enough time showing your influencer that you truly care about their work and/or the industry they’re in, this will never work.
By now you should’ve had at least one interaction so they will recognize your name. This could be a response on Twitter or even better, a discussion on their blog.
Your method of reaching out will vary greatly depending on the influencer. Some are very open and display their contact info, while others require a bit of research. Here’s a few successful ways that I’ve approached top influencers and received a positive response:
- Respond to their mailing list: Nearly all influencers have a mailing list which they’ve spent countless hours building. If you “reply” to one of their emails, they will likely receive it. Let them know much you appreciate their work and specifically what you enjoy most about their content.
- Write them a personal email: If you’re able to find their email address, write a personal note to the influencer and try mentioning a previous interaction you’ve had with them. Explain how much you appreciated their response and perhaps dig a little deeper into that topic.
- Reach out on social media: As a last resort, many influencers will respond on social media if done right. Depending on where you engaged most with the influencer, you can try sending a direct message to their Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or even publicly mention on Twitter. You’ll want to make sure your message is thoughtful and try to move the conversation to email as soon as possible.
There’s a number of reasons you’d want to get in touch and build an authentic relationship with an influencer. Perhaps you want to do an interview, get a quote for a blog post or ask a specific question based on their expertise.
Regardless of your reason, the tips outlined above should help you get started. It’s now up to you to find out how you can provide value and keep that relationship strong!
What other ways have you found effective to reaching an influencer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!